They say playing quarterback in the NFL ranks as the hardest job in sports. By extension replacing a Hall of Fame quarterback creates a cavernous void. At least for the New Orleans Saints, Sean Payton made early arrangements, like a prepper planning for the end of the world.
By signing Jameis Winston a year before Drew Brees rode off in the sunset, they acclimatized the former number one overall draft pick to their system. The Saints hope the year behind Brees rids Winston of the catastrophic turnover issues that plagued him during his time in Tampa Bay.
Taysom Hill remains an option, but after intermittently stepping in for Brees due to injury last season, Hill’s lack of a deep ball lingers as a glaring weakness. Winston figures to get the starting nod.
Sportsbooks are offering several ways to wager Winston this season. Here is a sampling:
DraftKings Props on Jameis Winston’s 2021 season
The last time we saw Winston as a starter, he threw for over 5,000 yards and 30 touchdowns with the Buccaneers. Unfortunately, he also threw 30 interceptions, becoming the first QB to have at least 30 TD passes and 30 INTs in the same season.
One would imagine Sean Payton will scheme at least a few of those interceptions out of him, but DraftKings’ +2500 odds for Winton throwing the most interceptions during the 2021 NFL season provides some enticing value. There are 13 QBs with shorter odds on the DraftKings board, with the Panthers’ Sam Darnold (+750), Washington’s Ryan Fitzpatrick (+750), and Colts’ Carson Wentz (+800) the top three favorites to lead the league in picks.
Nevertheless, even if Winston fails to shake his turnover troubles, starting for the Saints still might afford him an opportunity to throw for an ungodly amount of yards. While wide receiver Michael Thomas will miss the start of the season after ankle surgery, Winston still has Alvin Kamara to throw to out of the backfield, and the QB’s +5000 odds for most passing yards also provides some nice long-shot value.
More Odds On Winston
Payton’s coaching prowess is undeniable, but can he turn the talented but erratic Winston into the QB of the future in New Orleans? Naturally, leaning on Kamara should relieve pressure off Winston to decipher difficult reads on every snap.
If the stars align, Winston could blossom under an offensive mastermind, a nearly untouchable running back, and once Thomas returns, a wideout who finds an opening even under double coverage. In that somewhat plausible scenario, the bevy of DraftKings props like +6500 for Winton to have the most touchdown passes this season and +6600 on being named Offensive Player of the Year odds look pretty appealing.
Also, if it all falls into place, FanDuel’s +1700 for Comeback Player of the Year is an intriguing bet.